Martin Luther King: The Man Who Made his Dream a Reality 

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research & Education Institute at Stanford University

Explore the life and work of the iconic civil rights activist with The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research & Education Institute at Stanford University. The King Institute at Stanford University assembles and disseminates documentary and educational materials concerning King's life and the movements he inspired. 

Early Years
Martin Luther King was born and spent most of his childhood in the home his maternal grandparents owned, 501 Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, Ga.

Copy of Certificate of Birth, Georgia Department of Public Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, issued November 24, 1987.

King was born in this house.

King's birth home is second from the right.

This is a street view of King's birth home.

Montgomery
In 1954 King accepted a call to become pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala. Following the arrest of Rosa Parks in December 1955 for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man, black residents of the city initiated a bus boycott and elected King to head a newly formed protest group, the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). The 381-day boycott ended after the U.S. Supreme Court declared Alabama's bus segregation law unconstitutional.

King's installation as pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church took place on October 31, 1954.

This is the parsonage where King lived with his family during his years as pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. On January 30, 1956, during the Montgomery bus boycott, a bomb damaged the front porch of the parsonage. King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, and their daughter, Yolanda King, were both inside but were not injured by the bomb.

Historical marker at the parsonage.

The church, now called Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, was established in 1877. King served as its pastor from 1954 to 1959. On December 2, 1955, black residents of Montgomery met in the church's basement and decided to launch the bus boycott. A decade later, King and thousands of voting rights marchers passed in front of the church on their way to the state capitol.

This is a street view of the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church.

This sign on the front of the church registers it as a National Historic Landmark.

The interior of the church.

The arrest of Rosa Parks, a veteran activist in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), on December 1, 1955, sparked a year-long protest movement in Montgomery.

This page of the arrest record includes Parks’ fingerprints.

Selma
A sign describing the "Bloody Sunday" attack at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. and an invitation to the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 remind us of two very different yet connected events. One recalls the violence protesters met, while the other highlights a seminal moment in the civil rights movement. 

The Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., became the focal point of voting rights marches in March 1965 that eventually led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act later that year.

On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson, in the presence of King and other civil rights leaders, signed the Voting Rights Act.

Memphis
On April 3, 1968, King gave his last speech at Mason Temple of the Church of God in Christ in Memphis, Tenn. He was assassinated the following day as he was preparing to leave the Lorraine Motel.

This is a street view of the Mason Temple.

This sign commemorates Mason Temple as the place where King gave his last speech.

On April 4, 1968, King was shot while standing on a balcony outside this second-floor room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. In 1991, the motel became the site of the National Civil Rights Museum.

Remembering King
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., was dedicated in October 2011. 

In consultation with Dr. Clayborne Carson, director of the King Institute, the ROMA Design Group made this sketch as part of their winning design for the King Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. includes a statue of King by sculptor Lei Yixin.

Credits: Story

Photos by Dr. Clayborne Carson, Martin Luther King, Jr. Centennial Professor, Ronnie Lott Director, Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University

Captions and text by Dr. Clayborne Carson and Cole Manley, Research Assistant, Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute

Edited by Coral Abbott, Tenisha Armstrong, David Lai, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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